Sewing gifts: denim whales

DIY denim blue whale soft toyI haven’t had a great deal of free time for sewing recently, – and the time I’ve had has been spent making Christmas presents. Most of these I won’t be able to blog about until the New Year as it might spoil the surprise somewhat. My nature loving nephew, however, isn’t yet browsing the web, so I think I’m on fairly save ground sharing his gift – a blue whale set made from denim left over from the day dress I made earlier in the year.

denim whale soft toy details

denim whale soft toy details

The simplicity of this whale, the use of both sides of the fabric to create two-tone contrast and the pin tuck details are a stroke of genius. The genius is definitely not mine though, as I used the idea and free tutorial created by Mevrouw at Valaan Villapaita to make the whale. The tutorial doesn’t include a pattern but has clear photos of the pieces used – Mevrouw draws her pieces out freehand each time so every whale is unique. I really like the idea that they all come out a bit different but if you weren’t confident at drawing or had no experience of pattern cutting it might be a little intimidating. My whale duly turned out a little different from the original – and a little lumpy – probably because the denim I was using was quite lightweight. I also used shop bought soft toy eyes instead of embroidery and added thick fusible interfacing to the fins and the tail. I do like the result though – and I’m fairly confident my nephew will too.

Toys are more fun when they can interact with other toys and despite what John Lewis is trying to tell me this Christmas, most small children I know have almost zero interest in the romantic love life of their toys, so I decided to make another small/baby whale to go with the big/mother/father whale rather than a boyfriend/girlfriend.

diy denim whale soft toy

This time I changed the pattern pieces slightly so that the tail attached to the body seamlessly.

baby whale soft toy pattern pieces

The difference is most obvious on the underside (ignore the not very neat hand finishing!)whale soft toy underbelly

One present down – a fair few more to go…

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18 thoughts on “Sewing gifts: denim whales

  1. The quality of your sewing continues to amaze me! 🙂 I know my daughter would love a mummy and baby whale rather than two grown up whales so I back you on that choice!

    1. What a lovely thing to say – of course whenever you make things – whatever they are – it is hard not to focus on the faults and always much easier to see the strengths in other people’s projects!

    1. Oh thank you! The best way to learn is to start (small) and accept frustrations as part of the process – which of course is easier said than done. I am still learning with each and every project!

  2. I LOVE this!!! Discovered you blog ? Can’t remember how, because it’s now been so long since I read whichever entry it was that I pulled up looking for (I believe) baby clothes/accessories. Love most of what you’ve done for your girls, and your posts have kept (too much of) my attention. LOL!

  3. PS: I’m an accomplished seamstress, but drawing the pieces to make a whale like this is beyond my capabilities.

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